PM chipping in?


Visiting Prime Minister John Key says a Queenstown convention centre is seen as part of a national strategy. 

Key, in the Wakatipu last weekend to play in golf’s NZ PGA Championship pro-am, says a convention centre would make tremendous sense in Queenstown. 

“If you think about the National Convention Centre we’re trying to build with SkyCity in Auckland, and obviously [rebuilding] Christchurch, the sort of third leg of that trifecta is Queenstown. 

“So yes, we would see [it] as part of the kind of national strategy.” 

Key’s comments come after Queenstown Lakes District Council took a major step toward a local convention centre by selecting a preferred consortium to progress the project. 

The consortium is led by the local iwi’s Ngai Tahu Property and major public-private partnership fund Morrison & Co PIP. 

The group involves other major firms including global design practice Populous which had involvement with Dunedin’s roofed stadium, Auckland’s Eden Park redevelopment and the London 2012 Stadium. 

Council’s preferred site for a proposed 750-800 delegate centre is its own Lakeview land off Man Street on the edge of downtown Queenstown. Casino giant SkyCity Entertainment Group is selected as preferred operator. 

The entire project still requires community buy-in, but mayor Vanessa van Uden hopes to open one locally before Auckland and Christchurch. 

Key says he’s still not ruling out a Government contribution. 

“You’re now going through a phase where you’ll need to work out the potential funding arrangements for that convention centre and in the fullness of time I’m sure the mayor and others will come back to the Government and give an indication of the likely costs and whether they need any potential Government support.”